TV audience impacts are a measure of audience volume in media planning. In traditional media they are called impacts, in digital media they tend to be called impressions.

What is the definition of a TV audience impact?

An impacts is:

  1. One person
  2. Seeing one ad
  3. At one time


If 5 million people watch an ad in the centre break of a TV programme on Thursday evening at 7.30 pm that is 5m impacts.

If the exactly same 5m people watch another ad at 8pm, that is another 5m impacts.

Across the two ads, 10m impacts have been delivered for the client – but remember, it doesn’t mean 10m new people saw the break. In this example, 5m people saw the ad twice.

Are there different types of impact?

Yes, impacts can be counted by different demographic groups. So an ad might deliver:

  • 5m Adult impacts
  • 2m ABC1 Adult impacts (i.e. 2m of the 5m Adults were ABC1 Adults)
  • 1m ABC1 55+ Adult impacts (1m of the 5m Adults were ABC1 Adults who were aged 55+)

Why are impacts important?

TV is traded on cost per thousand audience rates. So if you have a budget of £500k and you are buying CPT (Adults) is £5, then the number of impacts you will be able to buy (using a 30 second ad) will be

(£500,000 / 5) x 1000 = 100 million impacts

We multiply by 1,000 because your TV buying rate is a cost per thousand impacts.

You can learn how impacts are measured as TVRs here

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